Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'd like to buy a vowel

I was throwing away our Christmas cards this week, and I noticed that on fully half of them the sender had spelled my name wrong.  Including two from members of my extended family.  Really, people?  You've known me my entire life and you still can't put an "e" on the end of Anne?  Somebody needs to buy a vowel! 

It reminded me of my Name Game post from a couple of years ago.  Apologies for the recycling, but the post pissed off so many of my friends, I just can't resist reposting it.

If you read this, and it hurts your widdle feewings..It's because you just realized that you CORNHOLED YOUR OWN KIDS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES (shouty capitals intended) thinking you were being cute when you named them.  I guarantee it's not cute to them. Trust me on this one.

Without further comment, I give you a repost of "The Name Game":

This entry is dedicated to my good friends Lelok and Chappell, both of whom share my pain.

It kills me how people with easy names (like Jennifer or Steve or any name for which the spelling is common) give their kids unusual names or names with crazy spelling or refer to their kids by their middle name.  You people have no idea of what it's like to go through life correcting people or spelling your name all the time.  It *sucks*.  A lot.  Not that I'm bitter.

You may think it's a minor inconvenience to have to spell your name for someone.  But imagine doing it time after time after time for 40+ years (and counting).  Over and over and over.  It's a pain in the ass, and my name isn't even that hard!  I don't know how people with really unusual names make it through the day.  I wonder if there are any statistics on the depression rate of people with screwy names vs. the general population.  Somebody call the Freakonomics guys!

Which leads me to my theory of how hard-to-spell or unusual names always skip a generation.  If I had a child (not likely, but I'm writing theoretically) I would never give him or her a name that isn't easily understood and spelled.  I'd give them names like Peter and Jane.  Or may be even Pete and Jan.  Nobody could screw those up!  Although being named Peter probably comes with it's own set of problems.  You can't give your kids many guarantees in life, but I could damn sure guarantee that nobody would screw up their names.  Ever.

Here's an example from my own experience.  My parents were Mary Lee and John.  Pretty easy, right?  Bet they never had to spell their names for anyone!  But instead of spelling my name Lee Ann (or the "easy way" as I like to call it), they spelled it Leigh Anne.  Thanks, Mom and Dad.  I know it was the '60's, but damn!

Not only do I always have to spell my name for people, but if someone sees the spelling of my name before they hear it pronounced they assume my name is Leah.  Especially if they're not from the South.  I still don't know what that's about.

And don't get me started on that damn "e" on the end of Anne.  That one letter is the bane of my existence.  That "e" is the reason I dropped my entire middle name for 10 years of my life (until I decided I really needed it for the sake of the extra syllable).  I'm just not a Leigh.  May be I could have been a Lee, but I'll never know.  Just call me LAB.

But as sure as I'd name my kids Pete and Jane, they'd probably name the next generation Schawnne and Ginefar.  Because they'll have no idea what they're doing to their kids.  They'll think they're being cute and clever, but all they're really doing is condemning their kids to a future of wasted time correcting people when they get the spelling wrong.  Schawnne and Ginefar, however, will name their kids Skip and Tina.  And the pattern would continue generation after generation. Ad nauseam.

You may think I'm making a big deal out of nothing (and if that's what you think I can guarantee that you have an easy name), but giving your child an unusual name has been proven to make them statistically less likely to be selected for a job interview based on their resume as compared to the resumes of more traditionally named candidates with similar education and experience (refer to the first Freakonomics book for the methodology used).  So nice job giving your kids a leg down, parents.  And sending your daughters one step closer to the pole.

I'm not the only one who feels this way.  There's even a Facebook group called "People Who Always Have to Spell Their Names for Other People".  I'm pleased to say that I have one of the easiest names in the group, which makes me thankful for my very ordinary last name.
And to those of you who have difficult names and who also gave your children difficult names I say this:  What the hell is wrong with you?  Douchebags.

I'm not saying we should go so far as to follow the Icelandic method of a government approved list of names, or that names should be selected from the rack of readily available coffee mugs found at any airport gift store, but seriously people.  Think about what your doing.  Use your head.  It's that round thing two feet above your ass.

These days, when someone asks me how to spell my name I just say "however it's easiest".  I gave up years ago.

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